Environment correspondent by Helen.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Just three crops are the staple for more than four billion people

Scientists have drawn up a list of plants that could be on the menu by the year 2050.

You could be snacking on false banana in the future.

The dangers of relying on a few crops have been highlighted by the war in Ukraine.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in London are looking for ingredients to future-proof our diet, with 90 percent of calories coming from just 15 crops.

Climate change is increasing the risk of food shocks where crops fail and prices of staple foods rise rapidly around the world.

One of the solutions to alleviating hunger, addressing biodiversity loss, and helping to adapt to climate change is to Diversify the food we eat.

We know that there are thousands of plant species that are consumed by different populations and this is where we can find some of the solutions for these global challenges of the future.

Only 417 plants are widely grown and used for food.

The pandanus is a small tree that grows in coastal areas from the Pacific Islands to the Philippines. The leaves are used to make sweet and savoury dishes in Southeast Asia, while the pineapple-like fruit can be eaten raw or cooked.

Image caption, Dr Marybel Soto Gomez beneath a pandanus tree in Kew's Palm House

The tree can tolerate challenging conditions such as salt spray and strong winds.

She says that it is a climate resilient and delicious food.

She says that if the Pandanus can be used with care, we should grow it more widely.

Beans are a food of the future. They are cheap, high in B-vitamins and can be adapted to a wide range of environments.

We only use a few of the 20,000 species of legumes in the world. It is thought that there are hundreds in the wild.

Image caption, A legume plant growing in the Temperate House at Kew.

The beans are boiled with maize or ground to a powder to make porridge or a cocoa-like drink in parts of Africa, where the morama bean is a staple.

Experts are looking at the properties of different species to see if they can provide food and nutrition.

There are more than 10,000 species of cereals, which offer lots of potential for new foods.

African cereals are used to make drinks and food. The plant can tolerate dry conditions.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Fonio, a grain used in West Africa, is high in iron, calcium and vitamins

The false banana is only eaten in one part of Ethiopia.

The banana-like fruit of the plant is inedible, but the stems and roots can be used to make food.

The crop has the potential to feed more than 100 million people in a warming world, according to studies.

Image caption, Fruit of the banana (left) and enset (right)
  • Plants
  • Kew Gardens
  • Climate change
  • Food